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Lewis v. Nevada County

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


February 23, 2009

STEVEN LEWIS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NEVADA COUNTY; JIM CASHEY, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL, OFFICIAL AND/OR AGENCY CAPACITY; OTHER UNKNOWN POLICE OFFICERS; OLFGANG PERNER; RICHARD GILL; ROBERT CARBALLAR; BILL SHAUFLER; JEFF MCMANNIS; DOES 1 THROUGH 10, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Frank C. Damrell, Jr. United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING ATTORNEY WITHDRAWAL

This matter is before the court on plaintiff's counsel Nathaniel Potratz's motion to withdraw as attorney of record.

E.D. Cal. L.R. 83-182(d); Cal. Rule Prof. Conduct 3-700(C)(1)(d); Cal. Rule Prof. Conduct 3-700(D).*fn1

Plaintiff has yet to retain new counsel, and thus, if Mr. Potratz's motion is granted, plaintiff will proceed in pro per.

Pursuant to Eastern District Local Rule 83-182(d):

[A]n attorney who has appeared may not withdraw leaving the client in propria persona without leave of Court upon noticed motion and written notice to the client and all other parties who have appeared. The attorney shall provide an affidavit stating the current or last known address or addresses of the client and the efforts made to notify the client of the motion to withdraw.

In his affidavit submitted in support of the motion, Mr. Potratz sets forth plaintiff's current address and telephone number. Further, counsel represents that he informed plaintiff of this motion by telephone call and by mail to plaintiff's last known address. Accordingly, the court finds that counsel has complied with the procedural requirements of Local Rule 83-182(d).

Local Rule 83-182(d) further provides that "[w]ithdrawal as attorney is governed by the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State of California, and the attorney shall conform to the requirements of those rules." California Rule of Professional Conduct, Rule 3-700(C)(1)(d) permits, but does not require, an attorney to withdraw where the client "renders it unreasonably difficult for the member to carry out the employment effectively." In his affidavit, Mr. Potratz represents that "[p]laintiff has breached the attorney-client retainer agreement by failing to cooperate with me in a number of respects[.] Plaintiff has failed and refused to follow my advice. Plaintiff has failed to communicate with me. There has been a resulting breakdown in the attorney-client relationship." Based on this representation, the court finds that counsel has satisfied Rule 3-700(C)(1)(d)'s grounds for permissive withdrawal.*fn2

Notwithstanding the above, Rule 3-700(a) provides that "a member shall not withdraw from employment until the member has taken reasonable steps to avoid reasonably foreseeable prejudice to the rights of the client . . ." Here, plaintiff will not suffer injustice or delay if counsel is permitted to withdraw. Trial in this matter is set for June 8, 2010. Plaintiff has sufficient time to retain substitute counsel, should he wish to, and for that lawyer to become familiar with the case and relevant issues.

Accordingly, plaintiff's counsel Nathaniel Potratz's motion to withdraw as attorney of record is GRANTED. Steven Lewis, as an individual, shall appear in the above entitled case pro per. The Clerk of the Court is directed to add Mr. Steven Lewis to the service list; his address is P.O. Box 274, Carmichael, CA, 95609, and his telephone number is (916) 821-5192. This case is hereby referred to the magistrate judge assigned to this case for all pre-trial purposes. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B); E.D. Cal. L.R. 72-302(c)(21).

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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